News story

Deputy Prime Minister: reform will put people and professionals in the driving seat

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Nick Clegg: public sector reform will allow professionals to decide how to deliver the services people want, instead of Whitehall.

Speaking at the Guardian Public Services Summit Nick Clegg said the private, community and voluntary sectors all have a vital role to play in modernising public services in the years to come. He also said that he would take a ‘hard line’ against any blanket privatisation or skewing of the market against public sector providers.

The Deputy PM said:

As we modernise public services in the years to come, I will take a hard line against monopolies because they stifle innovation.

New and alternative providers - from the private, community and voluntary sectors - have a vital role to play in our public services.

But I will also take a hard line against the kind of blanket privatisation which was pursued by governments in the past. Because replacing a public monopoly with a private monopoly achieves nothing but reduced accountability.

And I will take a hard line, too, against any attempts to replicate the mistake of skewing the market against public sector providers, effectively bribing private companies by offering them more money to do exactly the same job.

Mr Clegg said the modernisation of provision will result in opportunities to innovate and do things differently according to local needs rather than the needs of the centre.

He added:

I believe, if we open public services in this way, we will secure the biggest prize of all for all those who work in public services: Freedom.

No more targets: just accountability direct to the people you serve.

Read more: Guardian Public Services Summit speech

Watch the speech here (External webpage)